7 “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith”.
Investing our lives not only involves sowing and serving but we must also be:
Verse 9 reminds us to not give up on good. This is a call to patiently persist, to keep planting because if we do we will reap the reward. Today there are many who want a hand in the harvest but not in the hard work. Sometimes it takes a lot of weeping before we get to the reaping. Being steadfast is more than just sticking it out it is focusing on the fruit of the future, not the problems of the present. Our hope is not in the here and now but in the harvest to come and if we are going to succeed then we need to have a forward thinking, future focus. No orchard owner ever planted an apple tree one day and expected to bake a pie the next. Being steadfast doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines, being a steadfast servant involves sweat. Success involves more than just sowing, we have to water and weed, fertilize and prune. Not growing weary is a call to plant and then persist, to faithfully tend the garden as we focus on the future fruit. Perseverance produces patience and patience, especially people patience is a precious and powerful virtue. We want what perseverance will produce we just don’t want the process we have to go through to get there. Why do we often fail and throw in the towel before we see the fruit, because we have bought into the lie that living for the Lord should be easy. That all we have to do is show up and we will have success, but sowing and serving require spiritual and physical stamina. There may be painful patches and hard hits on the road to the harvest and we need to do more than just hold on we need to hope on. In Galatians 4:11 Paul points out a powerful truth in dealing with people: “I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing.” We fear that our work will be a waste, but Paul provides a proper perspective here, reminding us that the focus is not on self but on those we serve. He says “I fear for you” not I fear for self, many of us make self the focus of our feelings. Our worry is not that others will not advance but that we will be taken advantage of. Worry and fear will cause us to freeze or flee, either way it will stop us from being steadfast, and when we fail to forge ahead we forgo the blessing. Not only do we fear our work being a waste, but work without results can cause us to become weary and discouraged. Often we don’t intend to quit, we’re just going to take a short break, but somehow we just never quite seem to get started again. This is where we need to engage in encouragement, because we all need a steady supply of encouragement. The problem is that we often feeding people a diet of discouragement and then wonder why they die. The word encouragement means to provide others with courage. Now there is a big difference between flattery and encouragement, flattery is a compliment but encouragement is coming alongside and spurring others on. It’s easy to flatter and fluff the feathers but encouragement encompasses so much more. I Thessalonians 5:11 calls us to: “encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” Encouraging one another is not just something that scripture suggests we do if we have time, but a call to take the time and come alongside. It’s easier to be a discourager than it is to be an encourager, it takes less thought and effort to tear down than to build up. We have a duty to one another to provide encouragement and that encouragement is vital. One of the greatest ways for us to help one another is through a steady show of encouragement so why don’t we do it. We live in a society that is more prone to punish that to respond with rewarding. Rather than rewarding good behavior we punish bad. Yet that is not the model of the Master, He loves and longs to reward the faithful with fruit. Sometimes it’s simply because we get too busy doing other things, we let life run us and run over us. Instead of taking charge and taking the bull by the horns we get charged. Not only do we need to be steadfast but we also have to stop being:
- SHORT SIGHTED
Scripture reminds us that we will reap in a different season than we sown. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” When we look at life through the short lens of instant gratification we often end up grumpy and dissatisfied. Living out the call of Galatians 6 is a challenge in a culture that demands immediate results. In our fast food culture it’s easy to forget to be future focused. The problem is that we see waiting as a waste, but waiting develops our dependence on God, and reinforces our relationship. It causes us to not only turn to Him in trust but once turned to keep trusting. Seeking to serve and do good in the discouraging and dry times of life is really a step of faith, and without faith we will never see the fruit. Are you going to forge ahead in faith or fall behind in fear? The problem is our current culture tells us that it’s ok to focus on self, as a result we want it our way and we want it now. We are not willing to plant the seeds and lend a helping hand until we see the harvest. How do we live a grace based grateful life during the hard times, by focusing on the harvest and what God will do, not on where we are at. Hope will help you clear the hurdles and handle the hurts along the way with wisdom and grace. Hope will keep your heart looking ahead not lagging behind. So let me ask you are you focusing on the harvest or the hard work? Are you going to get hung up on the here and now or forge ahead in faith? Are you going to serve and sowing good works wherever you go or be selfish? Short sighted living always short-circuits serving because it causes us to stop investing. Instead of helping out we hold back, instead of selflessly serving we become stingy with our time, talents, and treasures. When we lose sight of the harvest we are more prone to flake out and stop praying than to faithfully petition God the Father over the harvest. When we take our eyes off of God we lose sight of the goal, doing good, we get distracted and drawn away. We grow impatient for the harvest and irritable with people. Instead of aiding others we get angry with them, we see others as an interruption and an inconvenience, instead of seeing service as a prized privilege we view it as a pain. Are you sowing and serving with a steadfast spirit or a short sighted one?